Ethics and public relations have had an ongoing battle for as long as we can remember. The biggest question, along with when will the world end and how many licks does it take to get to the center of a tootsie pop, is if public relation practices are ethical. We are exposed daily to news moments that we think are unplanned, but potentially could be in the hands of a P.R. professional. The truth is that no one is 100% when something is tainted by a public relations person. That is the whole beauty of public relations. If this seems wrong to you, don’t worry, you’re not alone.
Now who is to tell whether something is ethical or not? It is all in the eye of the beholder, according to Kathy Fitzpatrick author of Ethics In Public Relations: Responsible Advocacy. Fitzpatrick believes in access. She claims that “two interests are dominant in free speech jurisprudence in the United States: the speaker’s right to free expression and the listener’s right to receive information important to informed decision making.”. The company is allowed to have complete access to the people. There are no laws expressing that a public relations professional can not reach an audience with certain practices. We must remember that it is the company’s right to say what they want. It is up to us as the consumers to either believe or brush off what is said.
For an example, lets use blk. beverages. Blk. is water that is naturally turned to black due to the addition of fulvic and humic acid. This company has faced a lot of negative feedback due to the fact that health experts claim there is no need for these extras. Could the additive of these two acids be all in the works of a public relation scheme?
It’s all up to you whether you want to believe public relations is an ethical practice or not. As the old saying goes, some things are just better left unsaid.